Mumbai, the commercial and entertainment capital of India, is definitely one of the places on the bucket list of tourists. But many wonder if Mumbai is just about the famous landmarks like Gateway of India, Bandra Bandstand, Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat or is there anything else to look forward to? The answer is Yes, there are a lot of unsung tourist attractions that are usually sidelined by their better known counterparts. One such hidden gem is Worli, a locality in South Mumbai. Worli near Mumbai is a busy office area in Maharastra. So, how exactly can you spend an eventful day in Worli? Read on to discover.
- Distance from Mumbai: 16 KM away
For all the Science lovers (and even those who never quite get their head around it), what better place to start the tour than the Nehru Planetarium in Worli? Inaugurated on March 3, 1977 by the then Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi, it is equipped with a Digistar 3 planetarium projector. With time, Nehru Planetarium in Worli has grown into a Center for scientific study into astronomy and serves as a meeting place for scientists. It organizes programs like Science quiz contests, Astro-painting, Science elocution, Astro-poetry and Astro-quiz competitions which are aimed at inspiring students. Special arrangements are made for watching, studying and photographing of Solar & Lunar eclipses, and telescopes are installed to enable eager visitors to watch these phenomena.
- Worli Nehru Planetarium Show Timings: 12 PM (Hindi), 1:30 PM (Marathi), 3 PM (Biography of the Universe in English), 4:30 PM (Hindi)
- Admission Fee: INR 100 (for 4 years and above)
A short distance from here is the historic Worli Fort where you can delve into India’s history. Built by the British on the Worli Hill, around 1675, this fort is situated at a strategically important location from where the British Navy could see the vessels approaching the western coast of India. The fact that it was built with special care is evident from the well-built structure of the fort that has survived the test of time and the glorious architecture is revealed in the beautifully ornamented gate that leads to the entrance of the fort.
- Worli Fort Timings: 5 AM –7 PM
- Must See: The fort offers an amazing view of the Bandra Worli Sea Link.
Worli Sea Face
After a dose of history, let us take a leisurely walk towards the picturesque surroundings of Worli Sea Face. This is the business district and a major residential area, inhabited mostly by affluent people. The best time to visit the Worli Sea Face is during the monsoons, when you can get drenched by the giant sea waves. As you hear the music of Arabian Sea blue waters and feel the soft breeze billowing through your skirt (Marilyn Monroe style!), leaving your tresses in a lovely mess, you can’t help but smile.
- Must See: Sunrises and sunsets are wonderful, when viewed from the Worli Sea Face.
- Must Taste: The place is buzzing with abundance of hawkers. Some of the tastiest Pav bhaji and Veg cutlets are available here.
Haji Ali Dargah
After experiencing the unique ambience of Worli Sea Face, it is time to get a bit spiritual. Make your way to the 600-year-old Haji Ali Dargah, built on a tiny islet located 500 meters from the coast. The Dargah is only accessible through the narrow causeway during low tides, as the causeway gets submerged during high tides. This walk on the causeway, with the sea on both sides, is one of the highlights of a trip to the shrine. This mosque and Dargah (tomb), constructed in memory of Sayed Peer Haji Ali Shah Bukhari is a brilliant specimen of Indo-Islamic architecture. The tomb within the Haji Ali Dargah has an exquisite silver frame, supported by marble pillars. The main hall has marble pillars embellished with artistic mirror work: blue, green, yellow chips of glass arranged in kaleidoscopic patterns interspersed with Arabic patterns which spell the ninety-nine names of Allah.
- Haji Ali Dargah Timings: 5:30 AM – 10 PM
- Must See: Special Qawwali sessions are held on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- Haji Ali Dargah Qawwali Timings: 4 PM – 8:30 PM
Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link
And lastly, wind up your tour of Worli on the Bandra Worli Sea Link, officially called Rajiv Gandhi Sea Link. It was designed as the first cable-stayed bridge to be constructed in open seas in India. This INR16 billion (US $240 million) worth bridge links Bandra (in the Western Suburbs of Mumbai) with Worli (in South Mumbai) and reduces travel time between Bandra and Worli during the peak hours. The sunrise and sunset views are especially beautiful from this bridge. However, stopping on the sea link for photography is banned as per the Government of Maharashtra regulations.
So, the next time you visit Mumbai, do not miss out on these tourist treasures of Worli.